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Open Water Daily2020-01-05T05:31:40+00:00

Voting opened on January 1, 2020 at 8:00 am (Pacific). Cutoff Date and Time for Voting is February 1, 2020 at 12:00 am (Pacific). Results will announced on the Daily News of Open Water Swimming.


The nominees are presented in the following four categories:
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2019 WOWSA Open Water Swimming Man of the Year Nominees

  1. Adherbal Treidler de Oliveira (Brazil)
  2. Alex Fong Lik-sun (Hong Kong)
  3. André Wiersig (Germany)
  4. Attila Mányoki (Hungary)
  5. Fergil Hesterman (Netherlands)
  6. Florian Wellbrock (Germany)
  7. Ger Kennedy (Ireland)
  8. Masayuki Moriya (Japan)
  9. Paul Georgescu (Romania)
  10. Petar Stoychev (Bulgaria)
  11. Robert McGlashan (Canada)
  12. Thomas Pembroke (Australia)
  13. Maarten van der Weijden (Netherlands)
1. Adherbal Treidler de Oliveira (Brazil)
Leme ao Pontal's Brazilian music has inspired one of the most beautiful, challenging and enjoyable marathons in the world, due to the efforts of Adherbal Treidler de Oliveira. He created the Leme to Pontal Swimming Association which governs the Travessia do LemeaoPontal Crossing, 36 km along the coast of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The coastal marathon starts at night usually under a starlit sky and along a coastline of one of the world's liveliest cities that shines brightly at night. Adherbal oversees each swim with precision and logistical and operational professionalism. He communicates very well, puts each swimmer on a pedestal, sharing his own experiences as desired. He creates a festive finish and awards swimmers with immediate ratification, a prize and a commemorative video. He organizes a uniquely special day in the life of swimmers who challenge themselves from Leme to Pontal because he has swum across the English Channel and holds various channel and marathon swim records. For creating and managing one of the best solo and relay marathon swims in the world, for continuing to work even after his Molokai Channel attempt ended due to a shark attack and a serious injury, for being a warm-hearted, inspiring ambassador as a swimmer himself, Adherbal Treidler de Oliveira is a worthy candidate for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
2. Alex Fong Lik-sun (Hong Kong)
Alex Fong Lik-sun of Hong Kong completely took off swimming for 15 years after he represented his nation in the 200m backstroke and 400m IM at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. He transitioned his considerable talents - buoyed by an abundance of charisma - to dryland activities. Named one of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons in Hong Kong, he established a swimming school with the mission to Swim with Integrity and Meaning. After winning the 15 km Cold Half Extreme Marathon Swim, he later smashed the existing circumnavigation swim record around Hong Kong en route to becoming the 4th swimmer to complete the 45 km HK360 course in 10 hours 43 minutes. For returning to the swimming community with victories and records while inspiring many others to swim, for raising $4.5 million in donations in order to provide clean water to 450,000 Chinese citizens, and for diligently and tirelessly working as a role model for the next generation of swimmers and non-swimmers alike, Alex Fong Lik-sun is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
3. André Wiersig (Germany)
André Wiersig is a Hawaiian Ironman triathlete, marathon runner and ocean advocate who became the first Oceans Seven swimmer from Germany. He completed the Oceans Seven after a steady six-year journey around the world including an 18 hour 26 minute turbulent crossing of the Molokai Channel and a swift 9 hour 44 minute crossing of the English Channel. His approach to taking on the seven channel challenges is brutally refreshing and pragmatic; he takes the lessons learned from facing currents, waves, jellyfish and sharks, and applies this tough and flexible mindset to his professional IT work and everyday activities on dryland that includes serving as an ambassador for the German Ocean Foundation and working towards reducing plastic pollution in the oceans. He teaches others valuable life lessons and shares his concepts of how to live an adventurous, eco-friendly life amid all the comforts in the modern world. For transitioning from a bicycle and running shoes to become a powerful channel swimmer, for his inspirational messages about the marine environment that he shares with his colleagues, fans and younger generations, for being a personable, knowledgeable ambassador of the sport and the Oceans Seven, André Wiersig is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming
4. Attila Mányoki (Hungary)
Attila Mányoki is doggedly determined with several dozens of marathon swims under his cap all over the world. But the North Channel presented a massive obstacle for the Hungarian Hall of Famer. He was pulled out unconscious in 2016. He was pulled out by his escort crew and hospitalized for over a week after swimming 10 hours 40 minutes in 2018 when jellyfish venom led to his left lung to collapse only 2 km from his goal. Despite 12 days in a hospital including 8 days in the intensive care and 6 days unable to breath on his own, he came back a year later to complete his last channel goal and became the first Hungarian and 18th person in history to achieve the Oceans Seven. For being a charismatic ambassador of open water swimming and professional marathon swimming from Asia to Hawaii and from Europe to South America, for showing how meticulous preparation over years increased his ability to acclimate to long-time cold water immersion, for eloquently giving TV and media interviews and sharing explanations about achieving the Oceans Seven in the fastest cumulative time in history of 64 hours 33 minutes, Attila Mányoki is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
5. Fergil Hesterman (Netherlands)
Fergil Hesterman, known as the Frozen Flying Dutchman, is a 26-year-old Dutch swimmer with 5 Ice Miles and 3 Ice Sevens under his cap. During 2019, the 26-year-old completed three fast Ice Kilometers (13:09 in January in Germany + 13:26 in January in the Netherlands + 12:42 in March in Russia) and won the season title on the inaugural International Ice Swimming Association World Cup Series over PetarStoychev, Christof Wandratsch, and Sven Elfferich. But in addition to his cold water training and ice swimming accomplishments, Hesterman works hard behind the scenes to further develop and promote the sport of ice swimming. Together with Richard Broer and Christa Hesterman-van Beers, he co-founded and manages IISA Netherlands, sets up training groups for the Amstel Ice Swim, serves as the event organizer of the Amstel Ice Swim, helps at the Dutch Championships Ice Swimming and Bodengraven Ice Swim, organizes official courses to train more International Ice Swimming Association officials, and maintains national records and safety standards for ice swimming. For his heartfelt passion and foundational support of the sport that is building a strong base for the future, for his ice swimming speed and accomplishments around the world, and for mentoring, inspiring and helping beginner swimmers and local organizers in their early years, Fergil Hesterman is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
6. Florian Wellbrock (Germany)
Florian Wellbrock's improvement in the pool is mirrored with his concurrent improvement in speed and savvy strategy in the open water. In the 1500m in the pool, the 22-year-old German has improved from 32nd at the 2016 Rio Olympics in 15:23.88 to a gold medal at the 2019 FINA World Championships in 14:36.54. The massive increase in pool swimming speed and stamina has boosted his standing in the open water world. In the 10 km open water races, he has spectacularly vaulted from rarely competing on the FINA/HOSA Marathon Swim World Series between 2016 and 2019 to winning the most pressure-packed 10 km race at the 2019 FINA World Championships. He pulled off the rare Mellouli Double, but he did it in an unprecedented manner: two distance races = two gold medals. For initially winning the 10 km race by 0.2 seconds and then winning the 1500m freestyle by 1.09 seconds 12 days later at the FINA World Championships, for pulling off the rarest Mellouli Double of all time, and for qualifying first and becoming the biggest dual pre-Olympic favorite in both the Olympic 10 km Marathon Swim and the 1500m freestyle at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Florian Wellbrock is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
7. Ger Kennedy (Ireland)
Ger Kennedy, known as Dr. Ice, is among the most accomplished athletes in the world of extreme sports. After an eclectic professional career on dryland, Kennedy has transitioned his physical talents, grit and creativity to the ice swimming community. His innate charisma and buoyant personality make his ability to withstand incredibly cold conditions looks so easy. In addition to pushing himself in Under Ice Swims, Ice Baths, Polar Ice Miles, and Ice Mile Zero, he achieved the Ice Sevens Challenge by completing 7 different Ice Miles in Ireland, Norway, Siberia, Morocco, USA, and Australia that culminated in a 2,800-meter high altitude lake in Chile. He also helped organize open water events and Ironman triathlon swims in his native Ireland. For becoming the first man to complete the Ice Sevens, swimming's most extreme physiological, psychological and logistical challenge, for mentoring and inspiring swimmers of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to achieve their own dreams, and for serving tirelessly and charismatically as an event director and ambassador of the sport, Ger Kennedy is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
8. Masayuki Moriya (Japan)
Japanese live in an island nation that stretches from the tropical paradise of Okinawa to its northerly prefecture of Hokkaido surrounded by the northern Pacific. Masayuki Moriya works year-round, traveling from north to south, east to west, traversing the entire nation while sharing his passion for open water swimming as a coach, race director, safety officer, channel swimming crew member, blogger, administrator, videographer, and swimming holiday leader. He teaches newcomers including elderly masters swimmers. For personally guiding, observing and organizing 21 solo and relay swims from 15 countries across the Tsugaru Channel and Sado Channel in northern Japan this year, for administering open water events with the Japanese Coast Guard and other relevant authorities, for his steady leadership of the sport in Japan, Masayuki Moriya is a worthy nominee for the 2016 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
9. Paul Georgescu (Romania)
Paul Georgescu can go very cold or very warm. The multi-talented triathlete, physical therapist, coach, referee, water polo player, and professor at the International British School of Bucharest has speed to burn in both ice swimming and warm channel swim. He completed the first Ice Mile by a Romanian in 3.02°C water and became the first Romanian to complete a 42 km crossing of the Molokai Channel in 13 hours 6 minutes. He also won the 500m International Ice Swimming Association World Championship title and finished 5th in the Ice Kilometer in Murmansk, Russia, and finished 7th in the International Ice Swimming Association World Cup Series. He also coached 12-16 year old students on the fastest English Channel mix gender relay of 2019. For demonstrating a wide range of open water swimming talents in cold and warm temperatures, for inspiring and mentoring swimmers of all ages in his native Romania, and for transforming himself from a water polo player and triathlete to one of the fastest ice swimmers in the world, Paul Georgescu is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
10. Petar Stoychev (Bulgaria)
Petar Stoychev is unique among all the world’s open water swimmers. He has been a 4-time Olympian in the pool and open water, a national administrator in his native Bulgaria, an influential FINA Committee representative, an English Channel record holder who has won an unprecedented number of FINA professional marathon races, and the world's most dominant ice swimming champion. Within in Arctic Circle in Murmansk, he dramatically won the International Ice Swimming Association World Championships with the fastest second-half500m split time in history. He completely dominated the 2019 World Ice Swimming Championships, setting the bar at the 1 km level. Just like in the English Channel and venues like lac St-Jean, the 42-year-old studied the requirements and rules of ice swimming and quickly became a two-time world ice swimming champion. For his emergence as a world champion in another aquatic discipline, for serving as a multilingual ambassador of the global ice swimming community, for helping to elevate the speed and expectation of world-class ice swimmers, Petar Stoychev is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
11. Robert McGlashan (Canada)
Robert McGlashan is an inspirational stalwart in the Great Lakes Open Water Adventures community that he co-founded in Lake Ontario, Canada. In addition to his mentoring and administration of the growing community of ice swimmers, winter swimmers, open water swimmers, channel swimmers and marathon swimmers in Canada and throughout the Great Lakes region, McGlashan achieved an impressive number of swims around the world in 2019. He swam from Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay, 3.9 km across the Strait of Magellan in Chile, 7.5 km in Lake Titicaca, Bolivia, the 36 km Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli in 9 hours 53 minutes, 50 km in Lake Geneva from Switzerland to France in 25 hours, and established the Cold Crusade where he swam 1.5 km in 1.8°C water in 20 minutes and 1 km in 3°C water in 15.35 minutes 8 days apart in Lake Ontario. For working to promote, mentor and support the growing open water swimming community year-round in the Great Lakes region, for working towards more challenging goals around the globe and documenting his journey, and for establishing a new ice swimming charity event for Shelter Movers in Canada, Robert McGlashan is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
12. Thomas Pembroke (Australia)
Thomas Pembroke is a teacher and role model on dryland - and does the same while swimming channels around the world. The Australian swimmer and a teacher at St Pius X College became the 13th person and youngest swimmer in history to complete the Oceans Seven. While inspiring the youth under his guidance, he also raises money and awareness for MS Research Australia to help those with multiple sclerosis. He was relentless, continuing to push himself despite an initial DNF in his first attempt across the Tsugaru Channel in Japan. For simultaneously serving as global adventurer, a passionate educator, a young inspiration, for pushing himself in swims between 4 and 15 hours to achieve the Oceans Seven, for being a personable, cheerful humanitarian who selflessly and humbly raises money for various charities on each channel swim, Thomas Pembroke is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
13. Maarten van der Weijden (Netherlands)
Maarten van der Weijden embodies the very definition of a hero and an icon. He survived leukemia as a young emerging pool swimmer, despite losing half his body weight during the depths of his bout with cancer. But he came back to win the 2007 FINA World Championship 25 km title and 2008 Olympic 10K marathon swim. While focusing on helping cancer patients, he created the Maarten van der Weijden Foundation and raised 6.5 million euros for cancer research with an unprecedented 195 km neoprened canal swim in the Netherlands. For using his swimming, speaking and leadership skills to raise millions of euros in order to fund dozens of cancer studies, for overcoming his initial failure along the famed Elfstedentocht canal course in 2018, and for designing, successfully completing and promoting a new 195 km charity swim course in the canals of Netherlands, Maarten van der Weijden is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
 

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2019 WOWSA Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year Nominees

  1. Alisa Fatum (Germany)
  2. Ana Marcela Cunha (Brazil)
  3. Bhakti Sharma (India)
  4. Chloë McCardel (Australia)
  5. Elizabeth Fry (USA)
  6. Mariel Hawley Dávila (Mexico)
  7. Nora Toledano Cadena (Mexico)
  8. Pilar Geijo (Argentina)
  9. Rachele Bruni (Italy)
  10. Sarah Thomas (USA)
  11. Susan Simmons (Canada)
  12. Xin Xin (China)
1. Alisa Fatum (Germany)
Alisa Fatum is so fast that only 5 men in history (Sven Elfferich, Petar Stoychev, Fergil Hesterman, Conor Turner and Rostislav Vítek) have swum a faster Ice Kilometer than her world record of 12:48:70 that she set at the Ice Swimming Aqua Sphere German Open in Germany. Relative to the world's top male swimmers, Fatum holds the fastest relative time of any female at any distance or any stroke - as she swam in 1.40°C water. Her other two Ice Kilometers of 2019 were also incredibly fast: 13:21:16 at the Zollhaus Open and 13:02:39 in 0.00°C water at the International Ice Swimming Association World Championships where she would have placed 6th among the world's fastest men). The 24-year-old also won the 50m butterfly (32:76), 50m freestyle (29:68), 200m freestyle (2:20:00), and 500m freestyle (6:19:40) - with no flip turns or dives - at the IISA® World Cup in Veitsbronn. For winning the Ice Kilometer and 500m freestyle and finishing 2nd in the 50m butterfly and 50m freestyle at the IISA 3rd World Championship within the Arctic Circle, for winning the inaugural IISA World Cup Series title, and for elevating the expectations and speed of female ice swimmers so early in her emerging career, Alisa Fatum is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.
2. Ana Marcela Cunha (Brazil)
There is no one more active on the professional marathon swimming scene than 27-year-old Ana Marcela Cunha from São Paolo. She remains a force to be reckoned with under any conditions – warm or cold, turbulent or tranquil – anywhere (Asia, Americas, Europe) any distance anytime against anyone. Her consistency is so remarkable that it is more noteworthy when Cunha is not on the podium than when she is. Over a 6-day span at 2019 FINA World Championships, Cunha qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games by finishing 5th in the 10 km on Day 1, won the 5 km on Day 4, led off 4th place Team Brazil in the 5 km relay on Day 5, and then won her fourth career 25 km marathon on Day 6 (after winning in 2011, 2015 and 2017). She also won the Pan American Games 10 km in Lima. She also won the 10 km race in Taiwan's Sun Moon Lake and finished 2nd in the FINA/CNSG Marathon Swim World Series after winning races in Nantou (China), Setúbal Bay (Portugal), and Lake Ohrid (North Macedonia). For being the most dominant open water swimmer at the FINA World Championships, for coming back to world-class stature after a serious health scare where her spleen was removed, and for her constant smile and affable spirit in racing around the world despite long flights and sponsor demands, Ana Marcela Cunha of Brazil is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.
3. Bhakti Sharma (India)
Bhakti Sharma has launched a professional career in education and motivational speaking as she inspires the next generation of girls and young women. Her message is based on her success as a channel swimmer, marathon swimmer and ice swimmer in her teenage years, and is delivered by multilingual digital platforms. She has given 4 TEDx Talks and 1 TED Talk on the main platform, numerous TV interviews and public speeches extolling the benefits of a life of adventure, courageousness and resilience. She positively impacts countless individuals as she shares her early aquatic exploits from Antarctica to the English Channel with audiences around the world. She started Swim to Educate initiative in India and has now expanded her message of inspiration to span from India to the U.S. For helping transform lives of students and young people with a message of hope, for sharing her dreams in the digital space and in college classrooms, for her eloquent and passionate talks given in an authentic genuine voice, Bhakti Sharma is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.
4. Chloë McCardel (Australia)
There is usually no swimmer as active as Chloë McCardel is on the English Channel - and this summer was no different as she pushed her English Channel crossing career total to 31 with 24 Channel Swimming Association awards. She completed another 4 solo swims this summer: 10:35 on July 23rd, 10:26 on August 2nd, 10:04 on August 12th, and 11:37 on September 2nd – in addition to a solo Catalina Channel Swim (10:05 to achieve the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming). She also dedicated significant time to coach 6 soloists (Kiel Johns in 14:07, Jason Osuchowski in 11:44, Nick Mauger in 10:42, Callum Eade in 10:56, Rick Seirer in a 29:46 2-way, Peter Tucker in 15:38) and 3 relays (5-person Can Too in 14:34, 5-person Tenacious Turtles in 13:43, 4-person Home and Away in 11:55) across the English Channel and threw in an Olympic triathlon relay in Bahrain. For coaching the 59-year-old Most Meritorious Swim winner and the 63-year-old Oldest Successful Swimmer in the English Channel, for receiving CSA awards for the Fastest Swim on the Highest Tide, the Fastest Solo Swim, and the Fastest Swim by a Lady, and for spending time, effort and energy to become today's most prolific Channel swimmer while inspiring, mentoring and crewing for other swimmers of all ages and abilities, Chloë McCardel is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year..
5. Elizabeth Fry (USA)
Elizabeth Fry continues to do what she loves doing...as she seems to be getting better and better at it. Channel swimming is her thing; marathon swimming is her specialty. She swims and achieves records in a humble, mild-mannered way, smiling and expressing heartfelt appreciate every step of the way to her successes. In addition to serving as the long-time race director of the 25 km St. Vincent's Foundation Swim Across the Sound, she completed a 23 km crossing of the Cook Strait from the North Island to the South Island in New Zealand in 9 hours 32 minutes and a 35 km crossing of the North Channel from Northern Ireland to Scotland in 11 hours 13 minutes at the age of 60 years 301 days to achieve the Oceans Seven and become the oldest person - male or female - to do so. She is role model and an icon to many, always sharing kind words and her boundless energy with anyone who ventures past the shoreline. She faces high stress in the financial services industry by day and swims by choice for relaxation, her preferred aquatic meditation where she continues to impress even the world's most elite marathon swimmers. For becoming the oldest individual to complete the Oceans Seven, for continuing to challenge herself and serve as an iconic role model for marathon swimmers of all ages, and for continuing to support and provide leadership in one of the world's most successful charity swims, Elizabeth Fry is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.
6. Mariel Hawley Dávila (Mexico)
For years through her marathon swims and channel crossings, attorney Mariel Hawley Dávila has been raising money for QuieroSonreír to fund surgeries for Mexican children with cleft lips and palate, paying for oncological treatments for children with cancer, working with women in jail, and promoting health via Mexicanos Activos. Her selflessness and widespread charitable works are constants in her life. She swims, she works, she writes, and she is a working mother who had to struggle on after the death of her husband in 2015. But she continued channel swimming and ultimately achieved the Oceans Seven with a 23 km Cook Strait crossing in 11 hours 45 minutes as well as a 32 km Los Cabos Open Water Acuarium in 10 hours 14 minutes in Mexico. For publishing her first English-language book Like the Heart of the Sea: Always at Peace and her initial book Días Azules about her marathon swimming exploits, for completing her long Oceans Seven journey in triumph across the Cook Strait on the same day as did her close friend and coach, and for being a strong, resilient, selfless mother in face of adversity, unexpected obstacles and seemingly insurmountable challenges, Mariel Hawley Dávila is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.
7. Nora Toledano Cadena (Mexico)
Nora Toledano Cadena has long been involved in open water swimming, both domestically in Mexico and internationally in some of the most difficult channels and professional marathon swims around the world. She was the first Mexican inducted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and has inspired, mentored and coached innumerable Mexican and Latin American swimmers of all ages for decades. This year, she coached 21 major international open water swimming crossings, all of which were completed successfully. Her speeches and her book - A cadabrazada: el azul interminable (Each Stroke: Endless Blue) - describe her channel crossings and how lessons from those challenges can be applied in real life. After all her successes and occasional obstacles, she crossed the 23 km Cook Strait in 9 hours 54 minutes to complete the Oceans Seven at the age of 49. For crossing the English Channel (6 times including a two-way swim), Catalina Channel, Molokai Channel, Strait of Gibraltar, Tsugaru Channel, North Channel, Cook Strait to achieve the Oceans Seven, for continuing to lead and advise the open water swimming community in Mexico, and for remaining a friendly, personable, humble, inspirational icon in the sport after nearly two decades since her first English Channel crossing, Nora Toledano Cadena is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year..
8. Pilar Geijo (Argentina)
Pilar Geijo has owned this decade among her female competitors on the FINA Ultra Marathon Swim Series. After winning the global circuit in 2010, 2011, 2015, and 2016, she came back to regain the title in 2019. She was the only woman to finish all six professional marathon swims on the circuit this year. She was consistent and even-keeled throughout the long season from February to September. The 35-year-old from Buenos Aires finished 2nd in the 15 km Maratón Acuática Internacional Santa Fe - Coronda (Argentina) in 3 hours 26 minutes, 4th in the 15 km Maratón Acuática Internacional Ciudad de Rosario (Argentina) in 2 hours 38 minutes, 2nd in the 32 km Traverséeinternationale du lac St-Jean (Canada) in 8 hours 12 minutes, 3rd in the 25 km Ohrid Lake Swim Marathon (North Macedonia) in 5 hours 50 minutes, 4th in 20 km Novi (Croatia) in 4 hours 35 minutes, 4th in the 36 km Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli (Italy) in 7 hours 50 minutes. For continuing to enjoy the sport as one of its most experienced veterans and personable ambassadors, for inspiring and mentoring many swimmers of all ages and abilities through her camps, motivational talks and television appearances, for her competitive spirit and calm composure in both warm- and cold-water conditions, Pilar Geijo is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.
9. Rachele Bruni (Italy)
She travels the world, representing Italy on the FINA/CNSG Marathon Swim World Series, always a threat to win and in the lead pack. Bruni won her third career 2019 FINA Marathon Swim World Series after topping the global circuit in 2015 and 2016. Her consistency is impressive as she finished 3rd in 2017 and 2nd in 2018. During the 2019 season, she finished 3rd in Doha (Qatar), 4th in Seychelles, 2nd in Setúbal Bay (Portugal), 7th in Balaton (Hungary), 1st in lac St-Jean (Canada), 2nd in lac Mégantic (Canada), 2nd in Ohrid (North Macedonia), 3rd in Nantou (Taiwan), and 4th in Chun'An (China). In Chun'An on the last race of the circuit, she had to finish within 2 places of Ana Marcela Cunha to capture the World Series title. She finished 1.2 seconds behind her Brazilian rival. She also finished a close 3rd in the FINA World Championships 10 km race to qualify for her second Olympic Games, finished 5th in the 5 km race, and led off the Italian mixed 5 km team relay to a silver medal. For maintaining her world-class speed and stamina at the highest echelon of professional marathon swimming for another year, for representing Italy with a competitive spirit on a non-stop international schedule on 5 continents, for expertly positioning and pacing, surging and sprinting among the world's best open water swimmers, Rachele Bruni is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.
10. Sarah Thomas (USA)
It would be almost impossible, unthinkable for anyone to top what Sarah Thomas has already done in her solo marathon swimming career. But what Thomas had to overcome in order to become the first person in history to attempt - and complete - a four-way crossing of the English Channel will be remembered for, literally, centuries. Her training and crossings were that heroic. The 37-year-old's unprecedented 134 km swim took 54 hours 10 minutes under the escort of pilot Eddie Spelling and the support of a top-notch escort team: 1st crossing from England to France in 11 hours 26 minutes + 2nd crossing back to England in 12 hours 41 minutes + 3rd crossing back to France in 12 hours 58 minutes + 4th crossing returning to England in 17 hours 5 minutes. Her gutsy swim - impressive at every levelfor both swimmers and non-swimmers alike- was the very embodiment of an epic, legendary effort of historical proportions. For her continued push to set the bar at unheard of levels in marathon swimming, for her pleasant, humble personality that is characterized with patience, dedication and an eloquence to explain channel swimming to the general public, and for her mind-boggling tenacity to overcome breast cancer and bouts of chemotherapy to swim further than anyone else in English Channel history, Sarah Thomas is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.
11. Susan Simmons (Canada)
Since 1995, Susan Simmons has been living with Multiple Sclerosis, a central nervous system autoimmune disease. Swimming is her preferred form of exercise and she manages her condition with head-on determination. She has raised money for and awareness of this disease and mentored and inspired many to follow her shining example of positive perseverance. The 54-year-old had done numerous marathon swims in Canada, but in 2019, she focused on doing swims in her native British Columbia and completed the Great Bear Swim Expedition 4, a 2-day stage swim; an 18 km swim down Fisher Channel and across the Burke Channel and a 15 km swim from the Burke past Namu and through Fitz Hugh Sound to Kavi, a First Nations community along the Koeye River. Susan also completed an unprecedented 16 km swim across the Haro Strait from San Juan Island to Victoria on Vancouver Island. For relentlessly training and selflessly mentoring others via positive marathon swimming events, for positively dealing with a potentially debilitating disease and successfully completing a number of cold-water unassisted bioprene swims, and for being an inspirational speaker, role model and advocate in the multiple sclerosis community, Susan Simmons is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.
12. Xin Xin (China)
Xin Xin pulled off the greatest upset of 2019 when she qualified first for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games marathon swim in winning the FINA World Championship 10 km race in South Korea over several more experienced and highly favored athletes. Battling back from 50th place in the early stages of the race and ending with a fast sprint finish that even surprised her, Xin became the first Chinese swimmer to win in the open water at the FINA World Championships. Xin started off as a distance freestyler in the pool, qualifying for the 2012 Olympics as a 15-year-old in the 800m race, but by 2016, she raised her profile with a 4th place finish at the 2016 Rio Olympics marathon swim. With a goal just to qualify, the 22-year-old stood on top of the podium and became an inspiration to millions of Chinese open water swimmers. For making her dream of winning a gold medal come true earlier than expected to become a Chinese role model in the sport, for starting off so far behind and finishing on top in the most pressure-packed race of 2019, and for enjoying the excitement and unpredictability of open water racing with an overwhelming sense of enthusiasm, Xin Xin is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.
 
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2019 WOWSA Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year Nominees

  1. 66th River Mile by Mally Richards (South Africa)
  2. 100 km Ocean Swim by Pablo Fernández Álvarez (Spain)
  3. Barbados to St. Lucia 151 km Crossing by Cameron Bellamy (South Africa)
  4. Easter Island Swim by Sarah Ferguson (South Africa)
  5. Father-and-Daughter Marathon Swims by Jessi & Richard Harewicz (Canada)
  6. FINA/CNSG Marathon Swim World Series Victory by KristófRasovszky (Hungary)
  7. FINA UltraMarathon Swim Series Victory by Evgenij Pop Acev (North Macedonia)
  8. Grand Slam of Open Water Swimming by Marcia Cleveland (USA)
  9. Gulf of Finland Relay by Roman Karkachev, Timur Falomkin, Andrey Zamyslov, Anton Kutuev (Russia)
  10. Ice Kilometer World Record by Sven Elfferich (Netherlands)
  11. Iron Iceman by Dr. Alexandre Fuzeau (France)
  12. Maui Nui Swim by Becca Mann (Hawaii)
  13. Oceans Seven by Jonathan Ratcliffe (UK)
  14. Pitcairn Island Swim by Alex Kostich (USA)
  15. Sea of Galilee Two-Way Crossing by Avishag Turek (Israel)
  16. Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming by Elizabeth Almond (USA)
1. 66th River Mile by Mally Richards (South Africa)
Since 1947, Mally Richards has been competing in the The River Mile in South Africa's Nelson Mandela Bay. The 85-year-old Richards just keeps on going on and on, coming back annually without failure and without stopping. The Jeffreys Bay grandfather extended his current world record for Participation Longevity in an Open Water Swim after completing his 66th edition in Africa's oldest open water competition. For setting an unprecedented streak in the open water swimming world that may never be broken - other than by himself, for quietly, humbly and competitively participating in a local swim in Nelson Mandela Bay - together many times with his son (a 6-time winner) and two grandsons, and for continuing to be an impressive role model of good living who thoroughly enjoys swimming as part of a healthy lifestyle, the 66th River Mile by Mally Richards is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
2. 100 km Ocean Swim by Pablo Fernández Álvarez (Spain)
With an overriding goal of completing several unprecedented open water swims around the world, Madrid swimmer Pablo Fernández Álvarez has completed swims from Senegal to Gambia and from U.S. Virgin Islands to Puerto Rico, and participated in the Great Shark Swim in South Africa and completed a 5 km shackled swim in California. But an incredible amount of oceanographic, meteorological and logistical planning was necessary for his longest swim to date: Fastest Solo 100 km Open Water Swim. His team located a point well off of Jupiter along the eastern coast of Florida where he took advantage of the roaring currents of the Gulf Stream. For swimming the world's fastest solo current-assisted 100 km open water swim called the Century Swim in the Gulf Stream, in 12 hours 21 minutes, for documenting and filming the attempt in such a remote location to share as an inspiration for other adventurers, for creating and achieving such a focused goal despite its myriad obstacles, the Guinness World Record 100 km ocean swim by Pablo Fernández Álvarez of Spain is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
3. Barbados to St. Lucia 151 km Crossing by Cameron Bellamy (South Africa)
Even after his unprecedented 96 circumnavigation swim around Barbados, Cameron Bellamy’s insatiable appetite for marathon swimming continued. He planned and trained for a 165 km swim from Cuba to Florida. But political and bureaucratic obstacles were insurmountable after a year of hard training that included three 24-hour training swims in Barbados. So he shifted gears and looked globally for a comparably difficult swim to the Cuba-Florida crossing. He decided to attempt an unprecedented swim from Barbados to St. Lucia. Feeling confident and with a strong support team behind him in Barbados and Saint Lucia, he was all-in and went all-out as is his modus operandi. He set off to become the first person to swim across the 151 km channel crossing from Barbados to St. Lucia. After 56 hours 26 minutes swimming steadily in the warm, highly salinated water, Bellamy was greeted onshore by hundreds of admirers including the Prime Minister of St. Lucia. For creating a successful charitable organization called the Ubunye Challenge that raises funds for myriad causes, for utilizing his training base and logistical talents to pioneer a 151 km channel swim in the Caribbean Sea, and for planning and executing the year’s longest ocean swim in duration while inspiring the Caribbean swimming community while working in Silicon Valley, the Barbados to St. Lucia 151 km channel crossing by Cameron Bellamy is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
4. Easter Island Swim by Sarah Ferguson (South Africa)
Far, far, far away from any continent, Sarah Ferguson set off on bringing attention to plastic pollution in the world's oceans through her unprecedented 60 km circumnavigation swim around Easter Island in Polynesia. 19 hours 8 minutes after starting at 8:07 am, she finished at 3:15 am in a charity swim supported by Plastic Oceans International and Breathe Conservation. It was challenging, turbulent adventure with uncertainty throughout, but Ferguson and her multi-national team led by John McCarthy ultimately succeeded around Rapa Nui. For her pioneering swim where she overcame jellyfish and highly salinated water, for working intelligently towards solving the problem of plastic pollution with global organizations, and for setting a record while inspiring others to rethink plastic via environmental activism, the Easter Island swim by Sarah Ferguson is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
5. Father-and-Daughter Marathon Swims by Jessi & Richard Harewicz (Canada)
A father's unconditional love and paternal desire to protect his daughter are among the most powerful and profound emotions on Planet Earth. 67-year-old Richard Harewicz and his daughter Jessi embody that strong connection on dryland and - especially - in the open water. Dad guides daughter, looking after her, feeding her, motivating her. The Canadian duo were inseparable on Jessi's journey to the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming when she completed the 20 Bridges Manhattan Island Swim, English Channel and Catalina Channel crossings. But their bond was ever so clear and evident on Jessi's Long Swim Home across the Strait of Georgia in Vancouver. The 59 km unprecedented crossing in British Columbia in the Salish Sea took 30 hours 13 minutes. For the father-and-daughter team that share a deep passion for open water swimming, for the paternal love and protection that are so evident to everyone around them, and for their volunteer work in support of other swimmers and the open water swimming community in Vancouver and the American Northwest, the father-and-daughter marathon swims by Jessi and Richard Harewicz is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
6. FINA/CNSG Marathon Swim World Series Victory by Kristóf Rasovszky (Hungary)
Kristóf Rasovszky, whose nickname is The Balaton Shark, performed consistently well throughout 2019. He won the always competitive FINA/CNSG Marathon Swim World Series and the tough 5 km race at the FINA World Championships. He qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by placing a close 4th in the 10 km FINA World Championships in South Korea. On the pro 10 km Marathon Swim World Series, the 22-year-old finished 2nd (1.3 seconds from 1st) in Qatar, 3rd in Seychelles (2.3 from 1st), won in Balatonfüred (by 7 seconds), won in lac St-Jean (by 12.5 seconds), won in lac Mégantic (by 1.8 seconds), and 5th in Chun'An (12.7 seconds from 1st) to capture his first World Series title. For competing so strongly in every race he entered among the world's fastest swimmers, for qualifying for the 2020 Olympics amid a busy global travel schedule, and for his noble competitive spirit and composure during the highest levels of competition especially during the final sprint to the finish, KristófRasovszky of Hungary is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
7. FINA UltraMarathon Swim Series Victory by Evgenij Pop Acev (North Macedonia)
Evgenij Pop Acev won the FINA UltraMarathon Swim Series on the sixth and last race of the circuit in 6 hours 53 minutes. After going back and forth against Italian rival EdoardoStochino all season long, the Series title came down to a mano-a-mano competition within the 36 km Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli in Italy. The 31-year-old marathon swimming veteran gutted out the global title with a 6 hour 53 minute swim, 6 minutes ahead of defending FINA UltraMarathon Swim Series champion Stochino. After finishing 6th in the 15 km MaratónAcuáticaInternacional Santa Fe - Coronda (Argentina), 4th in the 15 km MaratónAcuáticaInternacional Ciudad de Rosario (Argentina), 5th in the 32 km Traverséeinternationale du lac St-Jean (Canada), 2nd in the 25 km Ohrid Lake Swim Marathon (North Macedonia), and 2nd in 20 km Novi (Croatia), he finished 3rd in the 36 km Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli (Italy) to capture his third career world title. For traveling the world and representing North Macedonia well as a personable, seriously-minded ambassador on the international swimming scene, for training hard and serving as an inspiration for young athletes in every sport, and for winning his third career title on the FINA UltraMarathon Swim Series, the FINA UltraMarathon Swim Series victory in theMaratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli by Evgenij Pop Acevis a worthy nominee for the 2017 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
8. Grand Slam of Open Water Swimming by Marcia Cleveland (USA)
Marcia Cleveland has been swimming fast, coaching extensively, writing descriptively, educating widely, administering selflessly, and inspiring many for decades. In particular, her cumulative time for the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming in 24 hours 38 minutes (that includes a 9 hour 44 minute crossing of the English Channel, an 8 hour 56 minute crossing of the Catalina Channel, and a 5 hour 57 minute circumnavigation of Manhattan Island) is the fastest in history. Her year-end completion of the 38.6 km Tampa Bay Marathon Swim in 11 hours 19 minutes gave her the second fastest cumulative time of the Grand Slam of Open Water Swimming, men or women. The 55-year-old coach, author and mentor faced strong headwinds and navigated the 2-foot surface chop in Tampa Bay with the ease and composure of a veteran with several dozens of marathon swims under her cap. For her continued speed that she has maintained into her mid-50's, for her December 31st attempt as a solo effort on the tidal Tampa Bay rough water course, and for sharing her enthusiasm for the sport despite taking a month to recover from the swim, the Grand Slam of Open Water Swimming by Marcia Cleveland is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
9. Gulf of Finland Relay by Roman Karkachev, Timur Falomkin, Andrey Zamyslov, Anton Kutuev (Russia)
Marathon swims across the Gulf of Finland in the easternmost arm of the Baltic Sea occur in the summer when the water warms up, but four Russian swimmers Roman Karkachev, Timur Falomkin, Andrey Zamyslov and Anton Kutuev decided to challenge themselves to a 25 km relay swim across the Gulf of Finland in late October. The foursome started off with 30-minute legs from Yelagin Island in St. Petersburg to Kotlin Island in the Baltic Sea. The water temperature started at 7°C and never rose above 10°C. Their major challenge was the short recovery time between each leg repeated 7 times without hot tubs and saunas, but they prepared with an onboard doctor of physiology who cleared each swimmer each time. For each swimmer cumulatively swimming 153 minutes each (they swam together the last part of the relay) in very cold water, for accepting a challenge that pushed themselves to their physical limits, and for the genuine camaraderie and ambiance that they enjoyed along their journey, the Gulf Of Finland Relay by Roman Karkachev, Timur Falomkin, Andrey Zamyslov and Anton Kutuev is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
10. Ice Kilometer World Record by Sven Elfferich (Netherlands)
At the Austrian Ice Swimming Championships in Freizeitverein Altenwörth, 17-year-old Sven Elfferich swam at a speed never before seen in the ice swimming world. His new world record for the Ice Kilometer was the first time that the 12-minute barrier was broken. The teenager swam a blazing 11 minutes 55:40 seconds in the 3.60°C water in a 25m pool build in a tributary of the Danube River. Breathing bilaterally and swimming with a very high body position in the water, Elfferich swims with textbook technique enhanced with very quick open turns. The Dutch teenager opened up a new chapter in ice swimming and will be a force to reckon with long into the future. For breaking the existing world record of 4-time Bulgarian Olympian PetarStoychev of 12:15.87, for building upon his earlier age group world records and achieving his potential, and for his youthful exuberance and genuine excitement while serving as one of the ice swimming community's most acclaimed swimmers, the Ice Kilometer world record swim by Sven Elfferich is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
11. Iron Iceman by Dr. Alexandre Fuzeau (France)
In mid-winter in Volendam, Netherlands, Dr. Alexandre Fuzeau completed an Ice Mile in 36 minutes 27 seconds in 4.97°C water. While there were 419 Ice Miles successfully completed to date, Dr. Fuzeau only took another 6 months to become an Iron Iceman. The 53-year-old French extreme athlete and co-organizer of the IISA France Ice Swimming Championship, completed a 14 hour 48 minute Ironman Triathlon in Hamburg, Germany in August. This quick turnaround from training to be an ice swimmer and working as an event director to preparing for a full Ironman was the fastest extreme sport transition in the open water swimming community this year – or ever. For expanding his extreme sport resume and setting a Guinness World Record for doing both an Ice Mile and a full Ironman Triathlon within one calendar year, for continuing to travel the world to satisfy his insatiable taste for adventure while doing research and publishing papers on ice swimming, for participating in the International Ice Swimming World Championship winning two silver medals in the 50m and 100m breaststroke and two bronze medals in the 50m butterfly and the 500m freestyle while training to be an Ironman triathlete, the Iron Iceman achievement by Dr. Alexandre Fuzeauis a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
12. Maui Nui Swim by Becca Mann (Hawaii)
The Maui Nui Swim, a non-stop cross-current triple ocean channel swim between the Hawaiian Islands of Maui, Molokai and Lanai, had last been attempted 30 years ago and never been successfully completed. 21-year-old Becca Mann, a published author and world-class pool and marathon swimmer with national and international titles under her cap, was looking for a totally new challenge – and the Maui Nui met all her parameters. With a highly veteran escort and support crew alongside her, Mann set off from Maui on the 57.78 km course with loads of excitement and a bit of innocence as to what she was about to experience. While she had finished 6th in the USA Swimming national 10K championships earlier in the year, she was swimming well beyond anything she had ever done before in the deep blue waters of Hawaii. Rough water, strong winds and changing currents relentlessly battered her about as her confidence waned a bit, but Mann kept going with a focused mindset and completed the Maui Nui in 20 hours 53 minutes. For completely an unprecedented ocean course in Hawaii, for swimming over 3 times as long as she had ever done before in the Pailolo, Kalohi and Auau Channels, and for finishing 4th overall in Waikiki Roughwater Swim only two weeks later, the Maui Nui Swim by Becca Mann of the USA is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
13. Oceans Seven by Jonathan Ratcliffe (UK)
Jonathan Ratcliff uses his Oceans Seven channel swims to raise money and awareness for CROPS. He valiantly completed the last 4 of his Oceans Seven channels in the final 8 months of 2019 with a massively difficult crossing of the 23 km Cook Strait in New Zealand. The 46-year-old father – whose wife and children accompany him in his escort boats – faced tidal challenges, whirlpools, currents and large ocean swells on his tough 11 hour 15 minute crossing from the North Island to Sound Island. Despite the cold water and difficult conditions that he faced right from the start until his last stroke, Ratcliffe was mentally focused and physically determined to become the 19th person in history to complete the Oceans Seven. For his charitable acts and swims that fund mentors to help develop the untapped potential of teenagers in Peterborough, for his difficult 8-month push to complete the Oceans Seven as a family affair, and for his long, difficult crossing on the last possible day of his swim window, Jonathan Ratcliffe’s Ocean Seven is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
14. Pitcairn Island Swim by Alex Kostich (USA)
Alex Kostich has succeeded – and lasted – in Hollywood for over two decades, responsible for the promotion of hit movies as his dryland profession. But it is in the ocean where Kostich has set his mark for the ages. After years of planning and closing in on the Circumnavigation Seven with a 19 km circumnavigation swim around Bora Bora, several 4.3 km swims around Naples Island in California, a 20.1 km Swim Around Key West in Florida, Kostich completed his most adventurous and treacherous circumnavigation yet: a 9.8 km very roughwater swim around Pitcairn Island way out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Just getting out to one of the world’s most remote inhabited islands took careful logistical planning and had to be delayed for months. Then his window of opportunity closed on him due to inclement weather and he set off not knowing if the swim was even remotely doable. But 2 hours 37 minutes after he started, the small community of Pitcairn will forever remember the island’s swimming pioneer. For mapping out a detailed plan to get to and pioneer a swim around Pitcairn Island located 2,170 km from Tahiti and 6,600 km from Panama, for swimming through heavy surf and wavy conditions with a large degree of uncertainty about finishing, for being bold and adventurous enough to swim outside of his comfort zone, the circumnavigation swim of Pitcairn Island by Alex Kostichis a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
15. Sea of Galilee Two-Way Crossing by Avishag Turek (Israel)
The 21 km lengthwise crossing of Sea of Galilee is rapidly gaining in popularity with the increased participation of marathon swimmers, administrators, officials, volunteers and pilots in Israel. Avishag Turek has emerged as the most prolific marathon swimmer and became the first person to complete a 41 km two-way crossing of the Sea of Galilee in 14 hours 54 minutes. The 43-year-old’s pioneering efforts are inspiring others – domestically in Israel and international swimmers from around the globe - to follow her large wake of accomplishments. For being the first Israeli to complete the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming and achieving many other firsts for Israeli marathon swimmers, for helping promote marathon swimming in the Sea of Galilee, and for serving as a role model and Israeli icon with her unprecedented feats, the Sea of Galilee two-way crossing by Avishag Turek is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
16. Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming by Elizabeth Almond (USA)
Elizabeth Almond is a former triathlete-turned-marathon swimmer who completed the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming in 84 days, the 7th fastest period to complete a 33.5 km crossing of the English Channel (in 12 hours 1 minute), a 32.3 km crossing of the Catalina Channel (in 14 hours 19 minutes), and a circumnavigation swim around Manhattan Island (in 7 hours 43 minute). In the first summer of her marathon swimming career, she quickly achieved the Triple Crown, but she was completely focused on enjoying each experience. In preparing for her swims, she still mentored many, always taking time and significant effort to coach, encourage and support her training mates to reach their own goals. For completing her Triple Crown journey on June 1st and finishing on August 24th in a hectic summer, for enjoying the achievement with her husband and sister on her escort boat, and for humbly and passionately helping others around her to realize their open water dreams, the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming by Elizabeth Almond is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
 
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2019 WOWSA Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year

  1. Blind Vision by James Pittar (Australia)
  2. FINIS Stream (USA)
  3. FORM Swim Goggles + Polar® OH1/OH1+ Heart Rate Sensor (Canada)
  4. Kayaking & Coaching by Dan Simonelli (USA)
  5. Ocean Triple R: Remote Recovery Rescue by Nuala Moore (Ireland)
  6. Oceanman Series Experience (global)
  7. Open Water: San Francisco. Calendar 2020 by Zina Deretsky (USA)
  8. Prolific Promotions by Elaine Howley (USA)
  9. Slow Swimming by Stuart Hamilton (UK)
  10. Swimming Easter Island by John McCarthy (South Africa)
  11. Tampa Bay Frogman Swim (USA)
  12. The Ancient Seven Seas by David Rich (global)
  13. Travesía Interminable by Antonio Argüelles (Mexico) and Adam Skolnick (USA)
  14. WAVE Drowning Detection Systems by Mark Caron (USA)
1. Blind Vision by James Pittar (Australia)
Blind Vision is the autobiography of James Pittar, an Australian tax official who is an International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Swimmer. Pittar is not only a prolific marathon swimmer with myriad channel crossings around the world, but he also has raised over $100,000 on behalf of the Fred Hollows Foundation and works for the Rainbow Club Foundation which teaches disabled kids how to swim. Blind Vision shares his story from his sighted youth to becoming completely blind by his early 30's due to the degeneration of his retina. For telling the hopes, dreams and challenges - both on dryland and in the open water - of a most incredible human being, for describing many of his aquatic adventures in as-yet-untold details, and for sharing the mindset of daring to be different, the autobiography of James Pittar, Blind Vision, is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
2. FINIS Stream (USA)
Have you ever been bored swimming? FINIS has the answer...
With their patent on bone conduction speakers, FINIS has changed the swimming experience with vibrating speakers at the perfect frequency to provide crystal clear surround-sound, underwater. Unlike mp3 models, the FINIS Stream allows you to pair with a smartwatch to stream music, audio books, or podcasts directly from Spotify, Apple Music or other services.
For developing a market-leading technology that enhances the swimming experience, the FINIS Stream is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
3. FORM Swim Goggles + Polar® OH1/OH1+ Heart Rate Sensor (Canada)
Goggles have not significantly changed over the decades. Different form factors, polarized lens, gasket materials and shapes have made goggles more comfortable for swimmers, but a paradigm shift has not occurred - but FORM Swim Goggles has put swim pacing metrics right inside its goggle lenses, making valuable swim data easily and conveniently within easy viewing while swimming. But FORM even went further driving technology advancement by pairing its revolutionary goggles with Polar® OH1/OH1+ Heart Rate Sensor that enables swimmers to see their pulse rate in real-time within their goggles. For radically transforming modern-day goggle technology to benefit swimmers of all ages and abilities, for providing a easy-to-use FORM Swim App that enables post-swim data downloading and analyses by swimmer and coach, and for enabling swimmers to better understand their own physiology in real time in order to train more intelligently, FORM Swim Goggles + Polar® OH1/OH1+ Heart Rate Sensor + FORM Swim App is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
4. Kayaking & Coaching by Dan Simonelli (USA)
On the west coast of the United States, it is a rare day when Dan Simonelli is not coaching or kayaking out in the open water. He guides, escorts, educates, inspires, assists, feeds, and mentors swimmers of all ages and abilities. He also made an impromptu rescue that saved the life of a swimmer in high surf against the reef of the La Jolla Cove. During 2019, he coached or crewed 43 marathon swims, oftenkayaking not for just an hour or two, but typically anywhere from 8-16 hours on Catalina Channel crossings and other marathon swims. He is the go-to guy on the West Coast who is always in demand from Hawaii to Dover. He concurrently runs the Open Water Swim Academy for teaching and training open water swimmers, no matter what their starting point or final goals are. For being a reliable and knowledgeable coach, crew chief, lifeguard and escort kayaker for recreational, masters and competitive swimmers, for sharing technical, environmental, operational, logistical, mental and physical advice for open water swimmers, for calmly guiding swimmers from all walks of life in all kinds of conditions, the kayaking and coaching services provided by Dan Simonelli of the Open Water Swim Academy is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
5. Ocean Triple R: Remote Recovery Rescue by Nuala Moore (Ireland)
Nuala Moore is the ideal person to focus on the nitty-gritty details of open water swimming in high-risk locations, especially in cold water conditions. The Zero Ice Swimmer created a unique educational program - Ocean Triple R - that focuses on the recovery and rescue of swimmers in remote venues. Its mission is to create awareness and share expertise on safety plans, procedures and policies for swimmers facing extreme situational issues. The unique platform enables rescue services, providers, athletes and medical staff to work together and increase awareness of the risks and challenges presented by the cold water environment. For identifying, studying and resolving myriad safety issues that extreme swimmers can possibly face in remote locations, for putting together a comprehensive educational program that includes cold immersion emergencies and safety programs that is recognized by World Extreme Medicine, Ocean Extreme Medicine, Mountain Medicine UK and Rescue Emergency Care throughout Europe, and for promoting the awareness and acceptance of these oft-misunderstood medical and rescue concepts that can directly impact swimmer's survival, Ocean Triple R: Remote Recovery Rescue by Nuala Moore is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
6. Oceanman Series Experience (global)
The Oceanman Series has analyzed and taken the best open water event ideas from around the world and creatively packaged and executed them in beautiful 19 scenic locations around the world. Competitions with multiple race distances in Mexico (Yucatán + Cozumel), Bali, Alanya (Turkey), Spain (Costa Azahar + Benidorm), Ecuador, Russia (Sochi + Moscow), Italy (Polignano and Orta Lake), Greece, Lausanne, Colombia, France, Ukraine, Thailand and Cyrus culminate in a world championship in Cancún, Mexico, and include a comprehensive coaching certification program and very festive post-race celebrations. For organizing an exciting, enjoyable global open water swimming series under a cleverly branded umbrella for swimmers of all ages, abilities and backgrounds, for expanding into how to teach athletes how to reach their potential through seminars, a certification program, and longer UltraOceanman races for swimmers who want to greater challenges, and for designing the entire experience from the perspective of the open water swimmer who wants more, the Oceanman Series experience is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
7. Open Water: San Francisco. Calendar 2020 by Zina Deretsky (USA)
Zina Deretsky is a board-certified medical illustrator and a science & technology illustrator with a passion for the open water that runs deep. The preferred swimming venue of the South End Rowing Club member is the famed Aquatic Park where she has swum thousands of kilometers over the last decade. She creatively merged her artistic talents and vision with her aquatic pursuits to develop a beautiful wall calendar with 12 illustrations made with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop of classic locations around San Francisco Bay. For creating 12 iconic swimming locations around San Francisco Bay in a visually dynamic style including Alcatraz Island, the Bay Bridge, Aquatic Park, Muni Pier, Mount Tam, Fort Mason, St. Francis Yacht Club, Golden Gate Bridge, China Beach, Mile Rock Lighthouse, Cliff House, and Ocean Beach, for combining her professional talents with her aquatic pursuits, for creating a wall calendar that can be enjoyed 365 days a year by open water swimmers, Zina Deretsky's Open Water: San Francisco. Calendar 2020 is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
8. Prolific Promotions by Elaine Howley (USA)
Ice Miler, marathon swimmer, event director, Triple Crowner, ice swimming second, channel swimming historian, escort crew, feeder, pace swimmer, logistics planner, operations chief, mentor, coach, and writer. Elaine Howley has done everything in the open water as a swimmer herself and as a volunteer for others. She has witnessed some of the most epic swims in history and her talent for documenting and explaining the sport and its luminaries in the written word is unparalleled in modern times. From Captain Matthew Webb and Gertrude Ederle to Sarah Thomas and Ross Edgley, Howley is among open water swimming's most prolific writers and foremost historians. For constantly promoting the sport, its history and its most celebrated and heroic athletes in beautiful prose, for writing a plethora of highly educational, easy-to-read articles on every niche of the sport in leading aquatic and specialty publications from Outdoor Swimming to SWIMMER Magazine, for her extensive research of esoteric facts that is augmented by her introspective personal experience in the open water swimming, Elaine Howley's body of exhaustive research and wide-ranging articles is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
9. Slow Swimming by Stuart Hamilton (UK)
Titles, medals, cash, awards, prizes, psyche sheets, timing chips, results, maximum cut-off times are par for the course with open water swimming competitions. But Stuart Hamilton boiled down open water swimming to its essence: enabling swimmers of all abilities and ages to experience the pure pleasure of Mother Nature and swimming in the open bodies of water. Then he added a very social picnic and cake sharing element to the event and the Slow Swimming concept took off. With 70% of its participants women with an average age of 45, Slow Swimming events in Bradford-on-Avon, Cambridge and Dedham Vale attract thousands of happy, fully satisfied, fully satiated swimmers and their supporters. For empowering and enabling people of all ages and abilities to fully immerse themselves enjoyable and without stress in meandering rivers, for creating an ambiance of highly social and interactive outdoor swimming among like-minded people, and for promoting an enjoyable means of healthful exercise with the added bonus of sharing cakes and having a picnic among thousands, Slow Swimming by Stuart Hamilton is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
10. Swimming Easter Island by John McCarthy (South Africa)
Easter Island sits remotely out in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, located 3,512 km from Chile. Isolate and so far away from her native South Africa, Sarah Ferguson was drawn to the challenge of swimming 60 kilometers around the World Heritage Site. She was accompanied by a large crew that included surfer and ocean waterman John McCarthy, a fellow Durbanite. The renowned author wrote Swimming Easter Island, an 88-page book that gives his colorful first-person account and backstory of her 19 hour 8 minute journey where he served as her lead planner, navigator and safety officer. The book retells the swim from various perspectives giving insight that can come only from an eyewitness who understood the dangers and risks she faced. For bringing to life this harrowing solo swim with dramatic photos, maps and illustrations, for describing the core reasons for doing this swim as an eco-warrior and an ambassador for Plastics Ocean International, and for documenting an unprecedented Guinness World Record marathon swim for subsequent challengers and future generations, the book Swimming Easter Island by John McCarthy is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
11. Tampa Bay Frogman Swim (USA)
Charity swims attract all kinds of open water swimmers, from passionate environmentalists and those who remember the namesake of the event to local athletes and those who are simply drawn to the cause. The Tampa Bay Frogman Swim is supported by a wide spectrum of athletes, working exceptionally hard to honor and support the event's beneficiary: the Navy SEAL Foundation. The 5 km swim in Tampa Bay, Florida is the world's highest grossing charity swim per swimmer that raised over $725,000 in its 2019 event with only 164 swimmers. Because 100% of the proceeds support wounded and fallen Navy SEALs and their families, the success of this event is off the charts. Its start is solemn with a dignified military ceremony that is reflective and dramatic. The swim is not easy with swirling currents and low water temperatures, symbolic of the challenges that Navy SEALs face. Its finish is festive and celebratory. For the all-volunteer professional organization of the event by retired military officers, for the safe production of a challenging swim that has since expanded throughout the United States, for the selfless and extraordinarily generous support of military personnel and their families, the Tampa Bay Frogman Swim in Florida is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
12. The Ancient Seven Seas by David Rich (global)
The Oceans Seven is a difficult challenge that has attracted some of the world's foremost channel swimmers - only 18 have completed it to date. A new swim challenge, the Ancient Seven Seas offers a similar global concept with the goal of inspiring and expanding participation through more accessible marathon swims. At a minimum of 10 kilometers in each of the Ancient Seven Seas (Mediterranean Sea, Adriatic Sea, Aegean Sea, Black Sea, Red Sea, Arabian Sea, and North Sea), this unassisted solo challenge takes swimmers through the cradle of civilization with different cultures, religions and views. Lewis Pugh's original Seven Swims in the Seven Seas for 1 Reason, completed in 2014, was its inspiration. Swimmers can select and create their own preferred courses in the Seven Seas and do not necessarily need to be shore-to-shore or point-to-point. For building bridges with other cultures while interacting around a common love of the oceans and swimming; for creating a serious yet accessible marathon adventure, in terms of time and training, that enables more swimmers to participate; and for advancing the long history and concept of the Seven Seas, The Ancient Seven Seas challenge proposed by David Rich is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
13. Travesía Interminable by Antonio Argüelles (Mexico) and Adam Skolnick (USA)
His life reads like an adventure novel; his story could be made into a movie: a young charismatic boy from Mexico with an entrepreneurial talent finds his way to the halls of Stanford University in search of going to the Olympics. But his aquatic dreams are put on hold - temporarily - as he ventures out in the world and eventually finds success back to Mexico. His book, Travesía Interminable, or The Forever Swim in English, was written by Antonio Argüelles about his fascinating experiences en route to achieving the Oceans Seven at the age of 58. The 312-page book, co-authored by Adam Skolnick, describes his successes and the largely unseen obstacles that he had to overcome. For sharing his inner thoughts, worries and challenges, for describing his colorful, relentlessly goal-setting life, and for becoming the oldest man to achieve the Oceans Seven, the book Travesía Interminable by Antonio Argüelles and Adam Skolnick is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
14. WAVE Drowning Detection Systems by Mark Caron (USA)
Lifeguards, divers, kayakers, paddleboarders, safety boats, tow floats, Swim Angels, rest pontoons...the open water swimming community has developed a comprehensive safety net for its participants over the decades. But Mark Caron and the team at WAVE Drowning Detection Systems have significantly widened the safety net with a reliable, simple, easy-to-set up, easy-to-use anywhere systems for widescale adoption in lake, sea, bay and ocean swims. The WAVE alert is set off if a swimmer has been submerged for too long, so that quicklifesaving intervention is started. For augmenting current open water safety systems with simplicity and reliable technology, for dramatically changing the aquatic safety profile with a simple tracker that is attached to swimmers' goggles and immediately alerts safety personnel if a swimmer goes underwater too long, and for developing a system that can be implemented at any open water venue, WAVE Drowning Detection Systems by Mark Caron is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
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